Vikki Patis: Stepping Into Horror

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Vikki Patis is a writer and blogger at The Bandwagon, where she reviews books, interviews authors, and gives her opinions on a wide variety of topics, from feminism to fibromyalgia. She’s recently published a collection of short stories, Weltanschauung, and is here today to talk about stepping into the horror genre.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m an absolute wimp. The Grudge has haunted me for about thirteen years now; I almost threw up at Saw. I have a wild, vivid imagination; one that doesn’t go well with horror movies. So why did I decide to write horror?

Well, it’s all to do with that wild, vivid imagination of mine. I’ve always found books terrify me less than films, probably because I’m always the one to fall for the shock factor, the man jumping out from behind the door, the face in the mirror. Boo! I’m guaranteed to jump. Even telling myself that it was Harry Potter didn’t quell my terror at The Woman In Black. But with books, I can handle more. I often read my mum’s collection of John Saul books as a teenager; I adored the Goosebumps books, and Point Horror; I love creepy, dystopian fiction, like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Bone Season. But I always flat-out denied that I liked horror. It’s too scary for me, I’d say. Then a review copy of Horns by Joe Hill landed on my doormat, courtesy of Gollancz. Alright, I thought, let’s give this a go. And I tore through it like a woman possessed.

Thus began my education in horror. From Joe Hill to his father, and arguably the father of horror, Stephen King; from Claire Vaye Watkins to Rob Ewing, to Bird Box by Josh Malerman, which is completely and utterly terrifying, and should carry a warning. I’m still reading my way through the horror genre (and I’m open to recommendations!), but what I’d already read started to inform my own writing. Zombie, Bane, and Grave Oversight (which was initially written for a Stephen King competition, and lost) are all horror stories, with different twists. I used the typical ghost story for Grave Oversight, dressed up in dry British humour (which I hope Joe Hill might appreciate!); Zombie is dystopian, mind-bending, all-is-not-as-it-seems; Bane is your classic apocalypse story, but with a fresh approach.

I love the variety of horror. You’ve got the monsters – zombies, werewolves, vampires, ghosts – and you’ve got the thrilling slashers, waiting to catch you out at every turn. Dystopian fiction is one of my favourites, although I’m certain I wouldn’t last five minutes in an apocalypse. But the best thing about the horror genre is that it allows you to experiment as a writer. It gives you the room you need to tell your story, but also the freedom to choose your own style. None of my own work has given me nightmares yet, but who knows? Maybe someday.

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Weltanschauung is available on Kindle and in paperback now. From 16th – 18th December 2016, Weltanschauung will be available for only 99p! For more information, join the Facebook event here. Follow Vikki on Twitter: @VikkiPatis

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